Sarah Kate Ellis is the vice president of marketing at Real Simple magazine, and Kristen Henderson is the bassist and a founding member of the band Antigone Rising. And they’re a lesbian couple who both became pregnant via the same donor on the same day. Terrible plan, you think? Maybe…if it had been the plan. In Times Two: Two Women in Love and the Happy Family They Made, they narrate the long road that led them to such a scary, coincidental, but joyous family trajectory.
After they met through mutual friends in New York City and got together in 2005, they shared their dreams of motherhood and family. By 2008, both in their mid-thirties and after weeks spent surfing for the perfect donor and one miscarriage, they’d both had rounds of the fertility drug Clomid, and Sarah was pursuing IVF. Their difficulties conceiving were far from their early dreams of starting a family together, in which Sarah would carry a baby while Kristen toured with her band, and then Kristen would get pregnant. After a number of frustrated attempts, they both went forward with trying to get pregnant. They experienced each stage of their pregnancies in tandem and gave birth to healthy “twins,” a boy and a girl, three weeks apart, in the same hospital room.
This memoir of their struggles to get pregnant is narrated by both partners in alternating segments. This structure provides tons of relatable information and support for any woman (gay or straight) struggling with fertility, but it takes away from the sense of Sarah and Kristen as a couple in love. As partners navigating this unique territory, they could have included more on their feelings toward each other in these emotional times and how their relationship faltered and grew. They each briefly discuss their coming-of-age, coming out, and meeting each other, but the bulk of the book is about fertility, pregnancy, birth, and new motherhood. It’s a touching, quick read, especially for those seeking lesbian nonfiction that is more “everywoman” than political. Also recommended for those interested in personal, individual perspectives on pregnancy and trying to conceive.